Friday, March 6, 2009

Stalinism in the 30s

On page 49 of No Simple Victory, World War II In Europe, 1939-1945, Norma Davies writes, “In the 1930s the USSR was turned into a grotesque, gargantuan laboratory of social engineering and human misery. Tens of millions toiled in indescribable deprivation to build the dams, canals, factories and new towns that the five-year plans demanded. Millions died from exhaustion, maltreatment or executions. Whole classes like the kulaks, or small landowners, were slated for elimination hen agricultural land was collectivized. Whole generations were uprooted and sent for slave labour. And whole countries, like Ukraine, which had resisted, were laid waste. Never in human history has such a gigantic spectacle of applied ideology been staged. Yet few outsiders saw it. Great care was taken to ensure that Western visitors could report only the most positive images. . . .”

“To add to the misery, Stalin mounted a campaign of state terror that makes all other forms of terrorism pale into insignificance. The scale and the audacity of the killings were unprecedented, breathtaking. Lenin had killed off most of the regime’s active opponents and undesirables. The collectivization campaign had accounted for the peasants, the largest class of non-sympathizers. But from 1934 to 1939 Stalin conceived a programme for killing a large part of the regime’s most devoted servants. He aimed to sow such fear and trembling, such mental paralysis, that no one, least of all his close associates, could even imagine dissent. He killed every single surviving member of Lenin’s original Bolshevik government. . . By 1938 he reached the point where he was ordering the shooting of citizens by random quota: 50,000 this month from this province, 30,000 next month from the next province. The OGPU (the latest incarnation of the Cheka) sweated overtime. (They too were regularly purged.) The death pits filled up. The GULag became the biggest employer of labour in the land. State officials, artists and writers, academics and soldiers were all put through the grinder. Then, in March 1939, it stopped, or at least slowed down. The Census Bureau had just enough time to put an announcement in Izvestia saying that 17 million people were missing before the census-takers themselves were shot.”

COMMENT:

The brutality and violence of Stalinism is so well document, so well attested to, that one wonders why Revisionist Historians would seek to rehabilitate the author of these excesses. I suppose that if a Russian were not to spend too much time on the details he could look just at the good things Stalin did. Revisionist historians in Germany have done that with Hitler. He improved the economy. He caused a great recovery after the “mistreatment” at the hands of France and Britain after World War One, and he sponsored many fine inventions like the Volkswagen; so he wasn’t all bad. If historians can do that with Hitler, they can do it with Stalin. Also, there were elements of the old Tsarist expansionism in Stalinism. Russians like to fancy themselves an empire, some of them still do and Stalin was definitely of their mind.

But I’ve been meaning to ask, are the Russians who criticize modern-day Georgia the same ones who admire the Georgian Stalin? Or are there myths about Stalin being secretly Russian in some way?

1 comment:

Michael Kuznetsov said...

Lawrence,

The West's rabid russophobia is one of the major factors that redounds greatly to our positive attitude toward Marshal Stalin.

Be advised of the fact that every day millions (sic!) of Russians have been reading via the Internet dozens of dirty articles about our country published by the West's corporate media world wide.

Those Russians who are not fluent enough in English can use a special website http://inosmi.ru which provides the readers with dozens of translations of the articles about Russia in the West.

EVERY DAY WE READ DOZENS OF SLANDEROUS WESTERN ARTICLES ABOUT OUR MOTHER RUSSIA!

If we summarize the West "message" to the common Russian man it would sound approximately as the following:

"Your mother is a dirty harlot, your father is a drunken piece of scum, and you personally are a moronic bastard. Your dictator Stalin is a bloody maniac. Your "victory" over Nazis is worth nothing. It was in fact General Frost that defeated the brave Germans. Moreover, the Mongol hordes of the Red Army raped 2,000,000 German women."

Frequently, after reading such garbage articles, I have only one desire: to push the "red button."

This given, it is no wonder that the more the Western russophobic propaganda machine would be trying to convince us Russians that Marshal Stalin was allegedly a murderous tyrant and that the life in the USSR was allegedly like hell on earth, the more supporters of Stalin would appear in modern Russia.

But this is only one side of the question.
The other side is that we Russians have got ALMOST free access to the Russian archives. We can now see that all the heinous insinuations that were fabricated by Nikita Khruschev against Marshal Stalin in 1956 appeared to be all dirty lies, lies, and lies!
You can read Grover Furr on this subject in English.